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All the Trimmings: 1910

All the Trimmings: 1910

Washington, D.C., circa 1910. "Harris, Martha. Christmas tree." The home of Harris & Ewing co-founder George Harris and wife May, with presents for daughter Martha. Harris & Ewing glass negative. View full size.


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The Harris Family

Appears in the 1920 Census at 3703 Morrison Street in DC. George W., age 48, was a native of Wales. His wife May R., age 41, was originally from Missouri. Daughters Martha and Aileen, 12 and 5 respectively, were both born there in DC. They had two live-in African American housekeepers, Maggie Mays (20) and Clara Monte (25).

So if the photo at top was from 1910, Martha would have been about 2 at the time.


Martha has quite a menagerie of stuffed animals there, along with a tea set to feed them. The doll seems to be missing from the carriage though. Perhaps Martha is off playing with it. Or perhaps she and the doll have fled the wallpaper. I suspect those animals were stuffed with horsehair or maybe straw.

Christmas Camo

The pictures on the walls are completely lost in the wallpaper. For that matter, the Christmas tree is nearly lost in the wallpaper.

Rubens Angel.

The angel at the tree top is a copy from a Rubens painting.

[From Raphael's Sistine Madonna, actually. -tterrace]

Now Playing

The Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, NY, has a beautifully restored Schoenhut Piano on display. From what I can tell they're still making them and FAO Schwarz is still selling them. For those of us ambitious enough to try and restore one, they can be bought on eBay, with some priced as low as $10.

Not to say LOUD, but --

I wonder if that piano could be heard over the wallpaper!

Get to work

All you colorists, better get started on this image now so it will be ready for viewing by Christmas 2014!

Maybe edit the caption

Make it "Harris, Martha. Tree, Christmas."


Looks like little Martha cleaned up, this being back in the day when an orange and a copy of "Ragged Dick" was considered a good haul in many families. Clearly, the commercial photography business is good.

One is relieved to see the absence of burning candles on this probably dessicated conifer.

As for that wallpaper: basic human decency prohibits comment, except to say that it appears decidedly (and unfortunately) permanent as opposed being a holiday enhancement.

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